Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Plants that deer and rabbits don't eat, as much

First of all, deer absolutely love hostas. If you like watching deer in your backyard, plant a whole bunch of hostas.
Sometimes, it's hopeless, because deer will eat nearly anything growing in your yard. The plants that have the best chance of surviving the foraging of deer, are flowers and plants that have a pungent scent; fuzzy, coarse or spiny leaves or an unpleasant or bitter taste. Deer don't usually eat herbs because of their pungent scent.

Flowers that are usually left alone by deer, most of these are perennials
Alyssum - annual
Amaranth - annual
Black-eyed Susan
Butterfly bush
Butterfly weed
Cone flower
Cosmos - annual
Evening primrose
Four O' Clock
Hen and chicks
Marigold - annual
Morning Glory
Salvia - annual
Snapdragon - annual
Zinnia - annual

Deer resistant herbs
Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint and Thyme

Deer resistant vegetables
I have found that deer will eat jalapenos when hungry enough, but that's not their first choice. They don't usually eat onion, potato, squash and tomato plants or parsley or other herbs.
Their favorites as I know from personal experience, are green beans, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, carrots, peas and broccoli, beets and other greens.

Renee's has a list of deer resistant plant varieties, Also check with the Michigan State County Extension office

Rabbits are attracted to most of the same things as deer. One of their favorites is young tulip shoots. In the winter, rabbits nibble on landscape plants, roses, raspberries, apple, cherry and plum trees.
Yesterday, I noticed some damage on phlox which is most likely from rabbits. 
Deer leave torn leaves with jagged edges, while rabbits and other rodents will make a clean cut, often at an angle. Sometimes you can see deer or rabbit tracks, or rabbit excrement to pinpoint the perpetrator.
Deterring small and large (deer) rodents is not easy. We have a joke about deer bathing with Irish Spring soap at our house, but it seems to keep the bunnies away if I cut it in pieces and spread around the plants. I planted marigolds around the perimenter of our garden and that helped throw rodents off the scent of our vegetables. Our garden which is also fenced, was not disturbed by rodents that year. There are also products available to repel deer, called "Deer Away" and "Hinder."